I've never read anything from Orson Scott Card before, but decided to give this book a chance. It was different, combining a thriller with sci-fi and fantasy. There are two separate stories intertwined between our world and a lost world of gods. Both stories were very interesting, and I assume they will wrapped into one story as the series progresses.
The main character of the book is a very likable boy who learns that he has magic powers, and spends much of this book learning how to use them. Other characters in the book are likable as well. Overall this was a very good start to this series.
This book starts out with an exciting tale of a priest who escapes from a temple where the followers worship a spider goddess. After this, the priest mostly disappears from the book until the end when his identity is revealed.
Between these two sequences, this book seems to mostly set up the characters and the beginnings of plots for the rest of the series. There are a few exciting happenings going on, but at the end of the book you realize that the major plot happenings will be in the future.
This description may not sound like a ringing endorsement for this book, but despite the relative lack of any action, I found myself really enjoying this book. There are several solid characters, and I liked most of them. The book switches between them at the right times keeping the pace moving well. Pete Bradbury's narration is solid as usual.
Overall, this book was a fun and enjoyable listen. I like to listen to my books before bed, and was surprised that this story kept me up late an more than a few occasions. I'm looking forward to the next book.
I have been thinking about this review for awhile. It is a grand book and I felt it deserved a grand review. But to give a complete review of this book would take another book to do it justice. I have decided to keep it simple.
I have read a lot of books, a listened to quite a few since joining audible. The only other series that has come close to The Stormlight Archive for me would be The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan. The two series have many similar plot lines, but are also very different. I know there are other reviews here comparing the two works, and it is only natural considering that Sanderson finished the WOT books. But I noticed something when listening to Sanderson's books in the series compared to Mr. Jordan's. As much as I loved all the books in the WOT series, once Sanderson took over, the pacing of the books were much improved. Whereas Mr. Jordan would have long and often time meandering chapters, sometimes staying with one character for a quarter of a book, Sanderson breaks things down into smaller chapters, keeping the flow of the book exciting, and having the reader want more, not wondering when you are going to move on. In the end, I think that is what will make this series be considered one of the best ever when it's completed. Maybe the best.
There is one other comparison between these two series. Mr. Sanderson is a prolific writer, however he currently has several projects going at the same time. If he continues on the Stormlight Archive at his current pace of approximately one book every 3 to 4 years, you have to wonder if he will suffer the same fate as Mr. Jordan and never complete this series rumored to be at around ten books. I am now in my 40s, and I wonder if I will be around to complete the series even if Mr. Sanderson succeeds.
Overall, an awesome book and excellent addition to the series. The narration is excellent as always. I will continue on whether I make it to the end or not.
So, I just finished a book, and need a new book to listen to before the release in one of my favorite series comes out in a few weeks. I need something not to long, but that I know I will enjoy. I decided to come back to the Riyria series that I loved so much with the first trilogy.
Beginning this book, it was like coming home. While the Riyria books aren't complex like the Wheel Of Time or A Song Of Ice And Fire, there is something endearing about these books that just simple make you happy when you read them. The tales of Royce and Hadrian are like following along with two old friends on grand adventures.
Author Micheal J. Sullivan has created a wonderful series in the Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles, especially in the audio format. It's just the right mix of setting, characters, and narration, that makes you want to come back again and again.
Hope for many more of these books.
So here we are, in what is billed as the third book in the Shadowdance Trilogy. In the first book, you have the story of Thren Feldhorn, leader of the thief guilds who terrorrise the city of Vehlderan, and his son Arron/Hearn, who learns to despise his father as he grows to be an adult. In the second book you have the now adult Arron/Hearn, who is now “The Watcher”. Throughout the book, he takes the lessons he learned from his father to take control of the city, and force the thief guilds to play nice with the wealthy merchants.
So now that the third installment of this trilogy is here, does Arron/Hearn/The Watcher wrap up these threads left from the last book? The answer is no.
Arron/Hearn’s entrance into this new book begins with him learning of a copy cat killer named The Wraith (more on him later) in another city who is leaving the symbol of The Watcher whenever he kills someone. Arron/Hearn goes to his home he shares with the mercenary band with whom his hopeful love interest Delisia belongs. It has been five years since the last book, so by now surely the love has blossomed into a relationship right? Nope. Arron/Hearn still acts like a scared teenager in high school, and in fact only gets his first kiss upon telling her he is leaving town. As the book goes along, you begin to realize that the plot lines followed from the first book, are not to be followed in this one. Arron/Hearn’s confrontation with his father never happens. The mysterious plot hinted at revolving around Death Mask never materializes. The story of Alysa’s son is dropped, as he is quickly sent away to another far away kingdom after seemingly taking up the majority of the last book to get him back. The storyline of the two churches and the priests are non existent, along with the faceless ninja like nuns, with Zusa now nothing more than a body guard to Alysa.
While some may enjoy this book as an additional tale added along to the first two books, it makes absolutely no sense as the final book of a trilogy. There are no answers here, and no continuity of the plot. The author apparently realizes these faults in the story, and in a message at the end of the book states the ending of the last book was rewritten so as to add another book or more to the series to wrap up some of the loose ends.
And now, the narration. I blasted the narration of the first book, but went easy on the second having read them back to back. I had begun to get sort of used to the voices by then. After listening to the second book however, I found the third was not yet available. I went on and listened to another book. The narration in that book (Blood Song by Anthony Ryan if your interested) was perfect. The voice of the reader perfectly complimented the book. After the experience of listening to a awesome reading of a very good book, it was a shock to my ears when I came back to this series. I had forgotten just how horrible the narration for this series was, and I had a hard time getting back into this book. This narrator is just beyond terrible, and once again I was struck by the cartoonish reading, and the awful voices. The perfect example of this is new character The Wraith. You spend the first part of the book listening about how frightening this Wraith is, and have an entire scene where he goes to the well guarded home of the most powerful man in town and slaughters not just his family, but all of his guards by himself. After this scene, the manly, skillful, and deadly monster known as The Wraith sneaks into a meeting of elves. As they see him they become fearful, most like from his visage of testosterone, and he begins to speak. Does he have the voice of a manly man? No. He sounds like a twelve year old girl. A twelve year old girl who has been spoiled her whole life by her rich mommy and daddy.
This whole book, and now in hind site, pretty much this whole series, is just a huge disappointment. After reading early reviews I really thought I would enjoy this series. The first book was promising, but it is downhill from there. The series as a whole never completes the promise or plots it set out with, and I think I overrated Mr. Dalglish’s writing ability. The narration takes this series down even further. I am tempted to go back to my first review and title it, “Don’t get pulled into this mess of a series”. I will probably not move on to the new books added to this trilogy in the future unless a new narrator is brought in.
I decided to pick up Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song after noticing that it was being compared to some of the best fantasy books out there. Most notably, I have seen it compared several times to Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name Of The Wind”. The Kingkiller Chronicle books are at the very top of my favorite books, so I put Blood Song at the top of my books to listen to. After listening, I can see why there are comparisons, and while I don’t think this book is quite at the level of “The Name Of The Wind”, it is indeed a very good book.
Part of the reason for so many comparisons between the two books would most likely be the beginning of both books start with the main character telling his story to a chronicler, and also both books are told in first person narratives. This story begins with Vaelin Al Sorna, also known as the “Hope Killer”, similar to Rothfuss’ “King Killer”, telling his story from the time he was a child. Vaelin’s story begins as his father drops him off at The Sixth Order, a school where students learn to become soldiers of the faith, and is part of a larger church which include 6 other orders. This would also seem to be a similarity with The Name Of The Wind, as Kvothe’s story also begins with him going to a school for magic. This is however where the stories begin to differ. Whereas Kvothe is some what of a prankster who finds himself often in trouble, Vaelin Al Sorna, the main character in Blood Song, is more of a serious personality, and quickly throws himself into the teachings of his order. Vaelin learns his trade faster then all his fellow students, and makes a name for himself as a fierce warrior.
As the book goes on, and as Vaelin rises in stature and power, it become apparent that this book is much more than a copy of another more famous book before it. Blood Song is a powerful story, and I found myself enthralled in Vaelin’s rise to fame, and his struggles to keep himself tied to his values and his faith. He finds himself both loved by his fellow soldiers, and vilified by those he concurs.
The narration by Steven Brand for this book was perfect. His voice was spot on what you would want for the voice of Vealin. I have listened to many books, and it is such a pleasure when you find the book that has the combination of excellent story combined with excellent narration. Blood Song is one of those gems. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait for the next installment.
I went into A Dance Of Blades right after listening to the first book A Dance Of Cloaks. In my review of the first book, I noted that I really liked the story but didn't much care for the narration. The same applies to this book, however after listening to the first, I have become somewhat used to the narrators speech, and I didn't find it as bothersome this time around. So I won't spend a lot of time on it here.
A Dance of Blades finds Aaron, now named Hearn to his friends, and The Watcher to everyone else, now on a vendetta to stop his father and the other thief guilds. The book starts out the action quickly, and Hearn even leaves the city of Velderin, showing a little bit more of this world. While on the road he encounters an ambush of the caravan carrying the son of Alyssa, one of the characters from the first book, and now a powerful merchant. Hearn intervenes to try and save the boy, but is later blamed for his death. This sets up the rest of the story, with all characters seeking revenge.
There are several characters that continue on from the first book, and some who didn't survive the first book are missed, although at least one reappears having apparently survived. There are also a few new characters, Death Mask, a wizard who joins the Ash Guild in a plot that is not quite fully uncovered in this book, and Ghost, an assassin who is very skilled and entertaining. I did have to laugh a little at their comic book names though.
I would have liked to seen a little more of the world this book is set in, but almost as soon as the story left the safety of the city, much like the main character Hearn, it seemed to grow afraid of what lurked outside the walls and quickly retreated back inside. Overall though, this is a very exciting second book in the Shadowdance series, and I think author David Danglish will become a name in the fantasy genre if he continues with books like this.
A Dance Of Cloaks was another Audiobook where the narrator almost ruined the book. But before I get to that, I want to say that I thought the actual story itself was good enough to keep me going. Dance Of Cloaks begins with the story of Aarron, the son of the leader of a cities thief guilds. The father Thren is a bastard of a character, and runs the city with viciousness. Throughout the book he is not a very likable person. Despite this the book is enjoyable due to a cast of other characters, both good guys and bad, who bring the book to life. The first is Aaron who is torn between his devotion to his father, and his distaste for the things he does. I also liked Sinke, one of Thren's henchmen with a good sense of humor, Kayla the pretty street wise girl who Aarron has a crush on, and Alyssa the daughter of a wealthy merchant and rival to Thren. I also really enjoyed the nuns called the Unseen who were more like ninjas than nuns.The story it's self is interesting and well paced. There is not a lot of world building in this story as it mostly takes place in one city, but it is the first in a series, and will likely expand. Had it not been for the aforementioned narration, this book would have gotten a solid 5 stars from me.
Unfortunately, I really did not care for Elijah Alexander's reading of this book. His main narration is not horrible, or the worse I've heard, but right from the get go I felt he was talking way to fast as if I was listening to a commercial where the announcer was trying to get in 5 minutes of information into a 30 second spot. I had to rewind a few times to get things he had said. That wasn't what bothered me so much though. It was his voices for the characters that were horrible. All of the characters had quiet feminine voices, and for a story that takes place in one city, each had a different accent. Characters had accents reminiscent of British, Irish, Indian, and everything in between. The character Sinke sounded like one of the German guards from Hogan's Heroes. And then when you thought you heard it all, a priest shows up about three quarters through the book who sounds like a hillbilly redneck. I did manage to eventually get used to the voices and Mr. Alexander's speed about halfway through the book.
Overall, this is a very good beginning to a new fantasy series. It would be a shame to miss it due to the narrator, so if you cannot get past the voices, I would suggest you buy the book and read it instead. Or, you can do like I did, and push through and enjoy the audiobook despite it's faults.
I guess I should start this review by saying that I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. I should also say I am not really a big fan of comic books or super hero books. Not a huge super hero movie fan either. I know that may be crazy to some fantasy fans, but I haven't had an interest in comics since I was a kid.
With that said, I was initially excited when I heard Mr. Sanderson was releasing a new YA book after I had just finished a very enjoyable book in The Rithamist. So when I started to read the reviews describing this book as Sanderson's attempt at writing a super hero book, I was skeptical I would like it. As I began the book, my fears began to become reality as I initially felt the super heros, or more super villans, were a bit cheesy. Bad guys who killed people by pointing, shoot guns without running out of bullets, or turn everything they see into steel, was a little too young adult for me.
I pressed on through the book though because of my love of Brandon Sanderson's work, and because despite not caring for the concept of the book, the central character of the book David began to grow on me. Narrator Macleod Andrews does an excellent job of performing the voice of David from which the story is told first person. As the book went along, I began to stop thinking about the concept of the book, and began to enjoy my listen.
Overall, even though I had a difficult time initially getting into this book, the combination of Macleod Andrews' reading and Brandon Sanderson's always excellent story telling had me enjoying this book whether I wanted to or not.
Heir of Novron takes the steam that was built from the last book and builds it into a wonderful and exciting ending. What begins as more of a buddy story in a fantasy setting ends as a top rate fantasy story. The author Micheal J. Sulivan seemed to grow as the story grows, and I am looking forward to future series from him as well as the new Ryria Chronicles books.
Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds was solid as usual. I highly recommend this series.
After reading the second Riyria book, I am starting to understand some of the good reviews for the series. While the first two books were more single stories within the same setting, with Rise Of Empire, author Sullivan begins to expand the story beyond the exploits of Royce and Hadrian, and with this, the series begins to become a new and much more enjoyable experience. Characters from the first two books take on expanded roles, and new characters form to provide the listener with a larger epic fantasy type world.
I really enjoyed the larger roles for the women, Arista, Thrice/Modena, and new character Amelia. Their additions opened up what was an average story to something much more grand.
The narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds continues to be solid, and I think his voices are growing on me despite some of characters sounding the same.
Overall, I am enjoying this series very much, and have already moved on to the next book in the series.
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